Tales of Fallen London: The Silver Tree is a standalone prequel to Fallen London (previously known as Echo Bazaar.) The year is 1254. You play as an ambassador in the court of the Great Khan of the Mongols, whose empire at the time covers half the world. Choose into what you believe - negotiate, lie, investigate, spy and decide the fate of the city of Karakorum.
The game is like a modern equivalent of a classic text adventure. It has a non-linear story, which is driven onward with playing cards that present items, issues, clues and such to investigate. Each card unveils a piece of the story and contain several choices to make, none of which may be wrong, but choices that mold the story, the world, the character and changes the cards in the deck from where you draw the cards to play on your hand.
A significant part of the game are the player character's skills (Diplomacy, Spycraft and Scholar). The skills decide the chance of succeeding at various ventures, usually rewarding the player by making him more Trusted by one of three characters (the Khan, the Princess and the Interpreter); failing will instead typically raise the Suspected meter—being highly Suspected closes off various story branches. The Trust itself acts as currency, spent to access certain story branches and advance the player's progress in various enterprises and investigations. Resources (Bribes, Gifts and Secrets) are gained frequently during the player's adventures, and can be spent in various ways, for example to increase the skills.